It is definitely tomato harvest season, but the recent revolution in diverse tomato colours can make for uncertainty when it comes to knowing when your vine-ripened beauties are perfect. So, we've put together some pointers to help out!
Did you know that the purple colour in tomatoes, potatoes and other veggies & berries comes from healthy antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are good for you but also your plants! The purple pigments act like sunscreen for the crop, an adaptation first noted in potatoes growing at high elevations where UV levels can be extreme. Many purple tomatoes start out with purple-violet shoulders and green undersides. They will not be sweet until the entire fruit has become purple (unless they are a bi-colour type that is meant to be multi-toned). Alice's dream is a great example of a larger fruited tomato that matures with anthocyanin shoulders and rich orange-red undersides (bi-colour).These dark purple tomatoes are just about ready, with just a hint of green showing on the blossom end. Be sure to check all sides of the fruit, as it is common for purple tomatoes to ripen faster on areas most exposed to the sun.These purple tomatoes with orange-red blush are ready for harvest, with no green showing on the bottoms. The biggest hint with respect to ripeness for most non-red tomatoes is that the bottom is no longer showing any green......But, true green tomatoes can be among the trickiest to judge! The best thing is to look for a good photo of the variety and do a little taste testing along the way. True green tomatoes are delicious, and yes, actually are mature when vibrant green!